Prayers in Germany and Rome for Benedict XVI, in a “stable condition”

Pope Francis announced Wednesday that his predecessor was “seriously ill” and called for prayers for him, whose 2013 departure for health reasons surprised the world.

The 95-year-old ex-Pope Benedict XVI, whose health has deteriorated in recent days, is in a condition “stationary“, the Vatican said on Friday, December 30, as Catholics continue to pray for the German theologian. “Currently, his condition is stable.said the head of the press service of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni. “Last night the Pope Emeritus was able to rest well. And yesterday (Thursday) afternoon he attended the celebration of Mass in his room“, he added.

Pope Francis announced on Wednesday that his predecessor was “seriously illand called to pray for him, whose resignation in 2013 for health reasons surprised the world. A mass for him is also to be celebrated on Friday in the late afternoon at the Basilica of Saint-Jean-de-Latran in Rome. “His health deteriorated about three days ago. It is his vital functions that are failing, including the heart“, a Vatican source told AFP on Wednesday, adding that no hospitalization was planned as Benedict XVI’s residence had the necessary medical equipment.

Francis visited Benedict XVI on Wednesday at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, the Pope’s emeritus residence located in the heart of the Vatican Gardens. In Germany, in the Saint Oswald church in Marktl am Inn, where the former pope was baptized, a photo of Benedict XVI has been installed on a stand near a baptistery. Pictures of his visit to the city in 2006 along the walls. Spectators enter the white building from time to time, topped with a black tower.

A mass for Benedict XVI, in Rome. GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE / REUTERS

One of them, Tobias Ferstl, 43, prayed with his eyes closed for several minutes in front of the portrait of the former sovereign pope. “I had to pass here, so I decided to stop at the birthplace of the Pope Emeritus“, this devout Catholic explains to AFP. “I don’t feel great sadness or wonder, but rather gratitude“, he assures with a few tears in his eyes and describes Benedict XVI as “someone sweet“.

Fair in Rome

In St. Peter’s Square in Rome, the flow of tourists and pilgrims taking selfies in front of the Christmas tree and nativity scene contrasted with the few journalists present in case of an announcement from the Vatican. “He was a great Pope, perhaps misunderstood by part of the Catholic world, but he served the Church. He gave extraordinary sermons and writings“, Carmelo Dellisanti told AFP.

A mass for the ex-pope was celebrated on Friday evening in the Cathedral of Saint-Jean-de-Latran in Rome. “Benedict XVI has always shown great trust in Providence. As priest, theologian, bishop, pope, he expressed both the strength and sweetness of faith“, recalled in his sermon Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Vicar of the Diocese of the Italian capital.

During a mass for Benedict XVI in Rome. GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE / REUTERS

Benedict XVI, whose eight-year pontificate (2005-2013) was marked by several crises, was overtaken at the beginning of 2022 by the scandal of pedocrimes in the Church. When questioned by a report in Germany about his handling of sexual violence when he was archbishop of Munich, he broke his silence to ask “Pardon“but never claimed to have covered the pedophile.”I think he had a hard time as pope because of the pedophilia scandal and he never really wanted to be pope so it would be good if he joined heaven because he has had his time here“, confided Annika Hafner, a 30-year-old German, to Place Saint-Pierre.

Joseph Ratzinger has appeared increasingly frail in recent months, moving around in a wheelchair, but has continued to receive visitors. The photos from his last visit, dating from December 1, show a weak and visibly weakened man. In the last public video of Benedict XVI, released by the Vatican in August, we also see a thinner man, fitted with a hearing aid, no longer able to speak but with still lively eyes.

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